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Stories of Lives Liberated

The Fight for Faith

The concept of faith has caused me much grief for quite some time. In fact, it took my wondering about it for nearly a year for me to first peg my pain. When I did, I found that it was by my own misunderstanding that I was cut so deep, and that the misunderstanding was so rudimentary that it existed in the very definition of faith itself. 
Two things I misconceived: first, I thought that whatever amount of faith existed in me was invariable (there was no more to be had); second, I evaluated my faith by the extent to which it bettered my life. The problem that arises in the second, I so strenuously found, is that faith is not defined by such concepts. Rather, faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).

Eventually I found that the pain was the product of self-deception; while I strove for something I believed to be right, my own strivings did not validate the assumptions I held about faith. And so I became frustrated at my own delusion. I wanted to do away with even trying to understand, but it was the faith in me that left me longing to finally grasp Truth.

Even after coming to realize that actual faith does not take account of results and therefore cannot be measured by them, I was plagued with doubting my own faith. I was troubled because I comprehended and clung to what seemed to me the more difficult aspect of faith: the things I cannot see. I believed that the Word existed in the beginning with God and as God, that God created the heavens and the earth (and Bob and you and me), that the Fall was a result of sin which now separates us from the love of God, and that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection are the bridge to overcoming that separation.
Yet I confess that my faith doesn’t always reassure me that God will open the door at my knocking.

What I realized was this: nothing could possibly result but small faith if I give God no opportunity to be my hope. I had not even cast my hopes upon God and was therefore in no position to have any real expectation of those hopes being met. So, as I began to actually offer my hopes to Him, I came to these three insights:

  1. “Faith comes from hearing [not doing or receiving or anything other], and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). Our faith, like a seed, must be watered for God to grow it. While God certainly does the growing, he does not handle the watering – that is our responsibility, which we can live up to in our devoted, personal communion with Christ. Without water, the seed of faith will not grow; indeed, it might very well die. Without a commitment to the Word, we have neither the motivation to water that seed nor the understanding of why it needs watering; we have no discernment; we have no growth.

  2. It is our duty to fight for our faith.

    1. “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). The enemy battles always onward, always toward us; without faith, his attacks will penetrate our armor.
      Your shield is heavy, but no one else can bear its weight for you.
    2. “[We must] be on guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:3).
  3. What exists beyond our life is our faith. In many cases, our hopes are not fulfilled until we have departed. As such, we must understand that we might not see the fruit of our faith, but we must at the same time believe that others eventually will. Consider Noah, who acted in faith and saw little more than the destruction of his world (and a rainbow). Now, all 7.25+ billion of us affirm what was promised to him: the rebirth of Earth.

So fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
1 Timothy 6:12

 

“I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself.” – C.S.Lewis

As a student, Taylor Vollmer has realized the value of a dissenting opinion to understanding. Not claiming to be more or less qualified than any other, his studies shed light on things grossly depreciated.